As I mentioned in my last e-news before Christmas we will be reducing the number issues of Lewisham Life this year. The Council will be supplementing the printed editions of the magazine with a much improved electronic newsletter, which we will launch in April. This will highlight important news and service updates and help you get the very best out of living, working and learning in Lewisham.
New Cross Fire
Tuesday 18 January marks the 30th anniversary of the New Cross Fire, one of the most tragic and painful events in Lewisham’s history, which resulted in the loss of the lives of 14 young people.
A number of events are taking place to commemorate this significant anniversary. A special memorial service will take place at St Andrew’s Church in Brockley on Sunday 16 January and it will be my honour to lead the borough in remembering the victims of the fire at this event. On 18 January, a commemorative plaque will be unveiled at the site of the fire – 439 New Cross Road, SE14.
In 2006 I established a lasting memorial to the young victims of the fire. The annual New Cross Bursary Scheme helps two young people achieve their potential at university, something, tragically denied to the fire victims. Each year the bursaries are awarded to Lewisham educated students to support them through their study at Goldsmiths, University of London. The latest recipients will be receiving their bursaries at a special ceremony at Goldsmiths on 18 January.
The memorial service, the plaque unveiling and the bursary scheme are all significant ways that will ensure we continue to remember and I hope all residents will join me in remembering and reflecting upon these tragic events.
More new schools
During these difficult times it’s a welcome change to let you know about a good news story. Unlike many other local authorities the Building Schools for the Future programme was not cancelled in Lewisham due to the fact that we were so advanced in the scheme. Just before Christmas contracts were signed as we reached financial close on the fourth phase of the scheme.
The signing of these contracts means that work will begin this year on building a brand new special school for pupils with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), a new all-age school (Prendergast Vale College), and the rebuilding of two secondary schools, Bonus Pastor Catholic College and Prendergast Hilly Fields College. I remain determined to provide our younger residents the facilities they need to achieve their goals and aspirations. I look forward to keeping you updated on these exciting developments.